This September, Dr. Jon Lentz joined Seaview Orthopaedics as the newest addition to our growing pediatrics team. Dr. Lentz is a fellowship-trained pediatric physician who treats musculoskeletal issues in infants, children, adolescents and young adults.
Dr. Lentz recently attended Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine where he completed his fellowship training in Pediatric Orthopedic Surgery and Pediatric Spinal Deformities.
While he treats all areas of orthopedic issues in children, Dr. Lentz’s main focus is on spinal deformities, particularly scoliosis. Scoliosis is one of the most common spinal deformities seen in children. Scoliosis is defined as an abnormal curvature of the spine, where the bones that make up the spine become tilted and twisted, giving the spine a curve in an area that is meant to be straight. There are numerous different types of scoliosis, all stemming from various causes.
“The vast majority of cases develop from an unknown cause in otherwise healthy children” Dr. Lentz said. “This is called idiopathic scoliosis. Other more rare causes of scoliosis include neuromuscular conditions, congenital anomalies, some syndromes, tumors, trauma, or infections. A visit with a pediatric spine specialist can help determine the type of scoliosis a patient may have.”
Fortunately, scoliosis can be caught early on and treated from there.
“Treatment is based on the age of the patient and the severity of the scoliotic curve,” Dr. Lentz said. “Mild curves are usually monitored for progression until the patient is done growing. Moderate curves may require treatment with a brace. When used appropriately, special custom back braces have been proven to be effective in decreasing the progression of scoliosis curves. This can often prevent a patient from ever needing surgery to correct the spine. Severe curves are treated with surgery.”
If left untreated, moderate spinal curves may become more severe and require surgery.
While scoliosis is not life-threatening, severe cases may damage the heart and lungs if left untreated.
Dr. Lentz emphasizes the importance of screening children for spinal issues. It is important that children have healthy spines as they grow, and that they are periodically screened for abnormal spines in order to reduce the risk that it may impact them later on. Special attention should be given to girls ages 10-12 and boys ages 12-14 because of the risk of progression of scoliosis in this age group.
If an abnormality is noted at a screening, the pediatrician will refer the family to be seen by a pediatric spine specialist.
Dr. Lentz is seeing patients in Barnegat, Brick, Freehold and Monroe. To make an appointment, visit seaviewortho.com or call 732-660-6200.